RECONNECT TO ACHIEVE BIG-PICTURE GOALS

RECONNECT TO ACHIEVE BIG-PICTURE GOALS

In a world of constant digital connection, we rarely take time to reconnect with ourselves. We lose track of our goals and ourselves in the whirlwind of our jobs, families, and the fast-paced world around us.

 

Looking back on goals and dreams we’ve stopped pursuing can be discouraging and downright painful, but it’s an experience that’s crucial to progress.

 

You’ve got to know to grow. And knowing what’s important to you is the key to growing in the right direction.

 

 

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How can you reconnect with yourself?

Here are some steps you can take today to look within yourself and reconnect with what you truly want, so that you can move in the direction that’s right for you.

 

 

Step 1: Make appointments with yourself

 

Regularly scheduling time with yourself is one of the most transformative practices in self-care and goal-setting.

 

I wake up 30 minutes earlier than necessary to have time to and for myself before I even think of getting ready for work. Sometimes I spend that half hour on my yoga mat and other times I play with the dogs in the backyard.

 

No TV. No phone. No computer. Disconnect to reconnect.

 

Where can you begin?

 

Set aside short chunks of time for introspection and observation. Do things that make you feel calm and connected to yourself, your thoughts, and your environment. Start small with a five-minute morning meditation or a 15-minute walk at lunch.

 

During this time, a number of thoughts might pop into your head, which is completely normal. If something is important, acknowledge it, jot it down on a piece of paper, and move on.

 

If you’re anything like me and often get caught in a thought hurricane, close your eyes and direct your attention to your breathing. Focusing on something autonomous is a great way to work on clearing your mind.

 

You might also consider keeping a journal. Getting thoughts and ideas onto paper is a great exercise for organization, clarity, and accountability. This practice also allows you to look back and observe how your way of thinking has changed over time.

 

What to keep in mind:

 

You deserve more than your leftover time after finishing everyday tasks and responsibilities. Spending time with yourself is something you do intentionally. Make time for yourself.

 

 

Step 2: Practice what makes you happy

 

When you regularly check-in with yourself, you gradually become more aware of who you are and what you value. You also allow yourself the time and space to explore those things a bit deeper.

 

Maybe you find something that you like and are good at. That’s great! Practice that. If you love to draw but can only draw stick people, that’s great too. The important thing is to find at least one activity that makes you happy and do that activity regularly.

 

Where can you begin?

 

Ask yourself questions. When do you feel happiest? Whether it’s when you’re creating something or spending time with the ones you love, think about how you most enjoy spending your time. Shouldn’t everything else you do lead toward creating more time and ways to do what you enjoy? 

 

If the concept of “happiness” seems foggy or elusive: what intrigues you? What are you curious about? Learn more about that. What interests you about this? What goals do you want to achieve? What might you want your life to look like?

 

Write down words, activities, or values that resonate with you (i.e. connection, creativity, exploration, family, health, etc.). Settle on a few you’d like to prioritize and begin brainstorming ways you can progress towards enhancing different areas of your life. Then practice these things regularly – even if you have to schedule them into your day for the next six months.

 

What to keep in mind:

 

This is a process (not a one-time thing) and requires practice, patience, and a lot of self-compassion. You may not be where you want to be yet, but you’re moving in the right direction. The key is to do your best to keep that momentum.

 

If you feel like you don’t have time for your activity, go back to step one and set an appointment. If it makes you happy, it’s worth making time for.

 

 

Step 3: Save your appetite for the main course

 

In the words of Bill Gates, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

 

To move big picture goals forward, you have to make them your priority. If you fill up on snacks and bread (meaningless routines or mundane tasks), you won’t have room for the main course (those things that make you happy). 

 

Where can you begin?

 

With a better idea of what you want, you can now begin to eliminate what you don’t need. What does this look like? Simplification through setting boundaries.

 

First, don’t buy things you don’t need. De-clutter your physical space and find richness in experience, connection, and simplicity. Second, stop accepting responsibilities or opportunities you have little interest in. This equates to mental and emotional de-cluttering, which provides you more space and energy for your main course goals.

 

Unless it’s absolutely required of you, if an opportunity arises and doesn’t excite you or match you big picture goals, say “no.”

 

 

It’s all too easy to fill our plates with mediocre or flavourless tasks that prevent us from having the time, space, and energy to work on the things that make us shout, “YES!!” from the rooftops. Start prioritizing what you want by saying “no” to what you don’t.

 

What to keep in mind:

 

Don’t feel guilty in saying “no” to things that don’t resonate with you. Setting boundaries isn’t being selfish; it’s pursuing personal growth. There is a big difference.

 

 

Step 4: Acknowledge your obstacles

 

We’re taught to fear the words “challenge” and “struggle.” The truth, however, is that these are necessary to our growth as humans.

 

While it’s easy to resist starting something new for fear of looking inexperienced, my suggestion is to do it anyway. Try that new hobby, activity, sport, course, fitness regime, etc. that you’ve always wanted to. Forget how you might look and focus on the fact that you’re learning something different and reaching new goals.

 

When I dove into rock climbing, I struggled with intimidation, frustration, and an uncanny amount of callouses. Yet it’s the struggle (and the falling) that brings me closer to my goals, my community, and myself.

 

Where can you begin?

 

Craft your list of things that make you happy into specific goals for yourself. Leave space beside or underneath each goal to write the obstacles you face (or might face) for each. Contemplate each obstacle and brainstorm how you plan to overcome it. Who will keep you accountable? How you will document your progress? When you’ll schedule time to pursue this goal? And so on.

 

This proactive practice addresses potential issues before they arise, providing a structure that can increase your self-confidence, transform your habits, and shift your mindset before you even dive in. You’re ahead already!

 

What to keep in mind:

 

Be gentle with yourself. Just as life is a work in progress, so are you a life in progress. You will get there – wherever your “there” might be.

 

For now, connect with yourself and what you want.

 

And mindfully move forward.

 

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